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Why Is My Sewing Machine Running Slow? (Reasons and Solutions Provided)

Sometimes, the sewing machine gets a bit wild. But, here we can help you with it.

Why is my sewing machine running slow? A sewing machine runs slowly because it may have tangled threads, the needle may be misplaced, it requires oil, or may even have problems with the plug. On the other hand, the accumulation of dust is also usually a reason.

Although there are many types of sewing machines, many of the problems are usually the same in each of them.

Here are 6 possible general solutions for you to solve this problem. Let’s get started!

The First Things to Check When Your Machine Is Running Slow

If you notice that your sewing machine works slowly and discarding options, the first thing you should do is activate the bobbin wind.

When this is done, the machine runs slowly so that the thread is wound smoothly onto the spool. It should be clarified that this will depend on the machine’s model since, in some, the speed can be changed manually.

If you were able to wind the bobbin, then the problem is not related to the pedal.

Remember that when activated the bobbin wind, the rest of the machine functions stop working, i. e., when the pedal is pressed, the needle does not move. This is due to a security convention that several brands have adopted.

On the other hand, if the bobbin winder does not work (part of the machine that loads the thread in a controlled way), it is recommended to read solution number 3, but first, check that your machine is not in slow mode, in case It is an electronic machine (check the user manual).

Jammed Thread

Because the thread must pass through different moving parts of the machine, it is typical for the thread to jam, causing the sewing machine to slow down.

To know if the thread is not stuck, you should pay attention that the thread tension is not loose, make sure that the machine is threaded properly, and use the correct bobbin.

If your machine originally brought metal spools, you should always use metal spools, preferably original ones. And this applies to those that use plastic spools.

When you use bobbins that do not fit your machine, at first, everything may seem normal, but over time you will see that everything will go out of adjustment and unevenness, mainly the tension of the lower thread, causing it to jam.

When the thread is jammed under the presser foot, it is best to stop the machine and remove the bobbin holder to remove the jammed threads from inside the machine.

If the thread is excellent in both the bobbin case and the bottom of the sewing machine, then your problem is not related to the jammed thread.

The Machine Might Need Lubrication

Your machine’s longevity will depend on how often you lubricate it, especially if you use it every day.

This is something that many people do not have in mind until the sewing machine begins to slow down. Regular maintenance with the proper oil is vital for proper operation. This is something you can do yourself in just a moment.

Each manufacturer indicates in the instruction manual how often you should lubricate the machine. Even so, most recommend doing it each 25 to 30 hours (if its use is constantly). This will prevent its parts from rusting.

However, the use of just any lubricant is not worth it since not all are the same. You should choose oils with non-corrosive components so that they don’t damage your sewing machine.

And you should look for resin-based types of oils as it is the best material for this.

If you have applied the wrong oil, clean its parts with absorbent paper.

On the other hand, you must first check that the machine is spotless. If not, make sure it is free of dust and dirt. Unplug the machine from the power supply to prevent accidental operation.

Dirty Moving Parts

When was the last time you cleaned your sewing machine? Do you store your sewing machine without a cover or protector? If you do not remember, this can be another reason.

Cleaning its moving parts is another golden rule so that the sewing machine does not accumulate dirt and become slow.

Depending on the machine’s model, you can open the protective box of the coil to suck up the dust accumulated on the motor.

For optimal cleaning, it is recommended to use a hand vacuum cleaner to remove the fluff that many times the same fabrics leave on the sewing machine, specifically, under the needle plate.

How to clean and oil the sewing machine?

First, unplug the machine. Clean the bobbin and its handwheel. What you will do in this case is lift the needle, remove the presser foot, and remove the needle plate.

Then open the cover that houses the bobbin and remove it by pulling the tab. The shuttle ring holder is opened and removed.

Then, with a brush or vacuum, clean the bobbin case and gears of dust and lint. You can also use a compressed air spray to blow out the remains that you have not removed with the brush.

Once everything is clean, proceed to lubricate the machine, emphasizing the moving parts that suffer the most by friction.

To spread the oil, run the machine, so the oil is well distributed through the gears. When you’re done, wipe the excess oil off with a cloth and put the pieces back in place.

Check Electric Cord

Some sewing machines do not usually receive sufficient electrical power supply due to different types of plugs. Read the user manual to verify the voltage that your machine needs to function properly.

Check that the cord is correctly connected to the sewing machine and that the prongs are correctly contacting the outlet.

These are often bent, causing bad contact with the plug and causing a feeble electrical current, causing the sewing machine to work slowly.

In case the prongs are bent, straighten them with pliers or a suitable tool. The next step, plug it in, and the sewing machine should work normally.

If this doesn’t fix your problem, the pedal may be the reason.

Problem with Foot Control Pedal

There are two common sewing machine pedal problems that you can fix yourself. One of them would be the wear of the carbon pads that, activated by the push plate, make the electrical connection that makes the machine start.

When these pads are damaged, we can replace them with new ones with relative ease.

Another prevalent problem in sewing machine pedals is that the plates connected and operated by the pedal to release the electricity are loose.

In this case, the arrangement would obviously be to put them back together, and for that, you have to open the pedal.

However, some pedals of current sewing machines cannot be opened since they are formed as a single piece. If you hear something loose inside when you shake it, you should buy a new one.

It would be a good idea to have a replacement pedal as they are not too expensive.

On the other hand, some brands have launched sewing machines without pedals.

Instead, they have a built-in button that can be used to control both speed and operation manually. Check if these functions are enabled or disabled.

What to Do If Nothing Works?

After applying all the above options correctly, you notice that the sewing machine will work slowly. It is very likely that some internal part of the machine is broken.

At this point, you should leave your machine in the hands of a technician.

Consider that an electronic sewing machine is very delicate and will need to be checked by a technician who knows the brand and model you have. Some specialists know about different brands that you can surely find in your own city.

Keep in mind that if your sewing machine is an old model and needs some of its parts to be replaced, it may take time since many sewing machines have already stopped being produced.

It is advisable to be present when opening the machine to avoid inconveniences but before proceeding, ask for a budget.


1. How Can I Speed up My Sewing Machine?

  • Use quality threads.
  • Check your user manual to verify the type of material you can sew.
  • Observe the maximum speed of your sewing machine.
  • Change speed station smoothly.
  • Do not force the engine.
  • An electric motor should be used.

2. Can You Change the Speed of a Sewing Machine?

The sewing speed can be changed according to your needs with the speed control slider. To increase the sewing speed, slide the slider to the right. To reduce the sewing speed, slide the slider to the left.

Press the foot pedal to start the machine. The more you press the foot pedal, the faster the machine will run.

3. What Are Some Common Sewing Machine Problem?

  • Failure to wind the bobbin.
  • Thread accumulation under the needle plate.
  • Needle break.
  • Wear of the motor belt.
  • No stitches or skip stitches.
  • The seams are not straight.
  • Missing stitches.
  • Upper and lower thread breakage.
  • The thread tension weakens.
  • Low speed or too much noise.
  • The fabric is slipping or holding.
  • The machine cannot follow the guideline.
  • The thread gets tangled under the fabric.